Print Dryers : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread


Does anyone out there use those two-sided electric dryers for drying their prints. These are the ones that have a piece of cloth on either side that is used to hold the print against a metal surface. They tend to retail for around $100 new (some higher/some lower).

I am wondering as to how well they work (for larger prints - 11x14 and up) and if there are any drawbacks/pitfalls with using one.

Many thanks. Robert

-- Robert Ruderman (, January 21, 2002


Any kind of a dryer that sandwiches the print between a chromed plate and fabric belt is potentially a problem if you are looking for archival permanence. The fabric absorbs minute amounts of chemicals and over time, will contaminate every print it comes in contact with. Get some fiber glass screens, squeegee the prints on a piece of plexiglas and dry face down on the screens. Then, save for a good drymount press so you can completely flatten prior to mounting or hinging.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (, January 21, 2002.

I'll second the screen approach. I made mine from wooden artist canvas stretchers and fibreglass window mesh. They work a treat.

-- paul owen (, January 21, 2002.

I have one, and it works fine for getting the prints dry. I turn it over during use once and a while, because the rising heat tends to benefit the top more than the bottom. I use it with the emulsion facing the cloth. You're supposed to be able to dry prints with the emulsion facing the chrome to get that ferrotyped look. Trying it though, I didn't think that it worked out that well.

But, I would also be concerned about the potential contamination of the print with fixer absorbed into the cloth, and at high heat. It might be OK if you had a new one and were radical about thoroughly hypo-clearing and washing every print into which the dryer came into contact. I've wondered if it's possible to remove and wash the cloth by taking the unit apart.

I made my fiberglass drying screens out of the standard materials to make window screens. You can get the framing material, tools, and fiberglass screen (etc.) at Home Depot, or some such place. These screens work fine, and you can cut them to whatever dimensions that you want. They come out looking very professional. I made mine just large enough to handle one 16x20, 2 11x14's, 4 8x10's, etc. The inside dimensions are something like 18x24.

One handy way to use an electric dryer is for a quick-dry of the print to estimate dry-down effects, and then print at whatever exposure gives you the best dry print. Subsequent prints can be dried on the fiberglass screens so as not to detriment the archival properties of the print.

-- neil poulsen (, January 21, 2002.

I don't trust print dryer at all..bad experiences I guess.. it has the tendency to stretch the print and leave cloth mark on it beside all the above observations.....

-- dan n. (, January 21, 2002.

I had two and GAVE them to the fella who used to run the B&W World form and has since gone to work for Pop Photo. He payed shipping from Indiana, but that gives you an idea how highly I think of them. He likes them though.

I refuse (and SERIOUSLY) advise you to refrain from buying them new. Those prices are LUDICROUS! INSANE even! I paid as much as $20.00 for a NIB one (with the box and instructions) at a yard sale, and $10.00 for one with some use obvious.

Seriously, the screens are the way to go. If they aren't fast enough, flat enough, then a 2nd hand dry mount press (another un- godly over-priced item!) will work, or pull them when they are just damp-ish and place them under several copies of the O.E.D. sandwiched between CLEAN arhival mount board and let sit for several days. Works fine

-- Sean yates (, January 21, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ